THE HOT LIST

Sadly some new restau­rants did not make it into the book in time. Here are some new play­ers that look set to im­press in the com­ing months.

Singapore's Top Restaurants - - Settling In -

Akira Back

Head­lin­ing the food and bev­er­age of­fer­ings at JW Mar­riott Sin­ga­pore South Beach is Akira Back, the epony­mous restau­rant of the Korean-born, As­pen-raised and Ja­panese-trained chef. Dishes here are an amal­ga­ma­tion of in­flu­ences: Jeju red snap­per with cho­jang and orange to­bikko; the sig­na­ture tuna pizza, com­pris­ing wafer-thin slices of big­eye tuna, ponzu may­on­naise, truf­fle oil and mi­cro shiso top­ping; and our favourite, the linecaught Pa­cific hal­ibut pan-fried to a golden crisp and mar­ried with a rich soy beurre blanc sauce. 30 Beach Road, Sin­ga­pore 189763 Tel: 6818 1914

Fire­bake

Owned by Kon­stantino Blok­ber­gen, a chef, culi­nary con­sul­tant and Ka­tong res­i­dent, Fire­bake’s main fo­cus is its sour­dough breads, made us­ing tra­di­tional, ar­ti­sanal Euro­pean meth­ods. They are baked in two wood­fired ovens hand­made out of 37 tonnes of brick, sand and mor­tar.

The sour­dough breads here are hefty, hearty loaves, which are served along­side a menu of small and shar­ing plates of con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean cui­sine. The cured sal­mon with dill and the mus­sels were ex­cel­lent, and of course the range of breads—with its sweetly tangy flavour and soft yet dense tex­ture—which is served with lightly smoked corn oil and fine but­ter. 237 East Coast Road, Level 1, Sin­ga­pore 428930 Tel: 6440 1228

Fynn's

Oc­cu­py­ing prime po­si­tion on South Beach Av­enue’s cov­ered pi­azza lies Fynn’s, a ca­sual mod­ern Aus­tralian diner. We like the laid­back vibe of the in­te­rior painted in warm tones, with rat­tan seats and sand­coloured mar­ble tops.

On the din­ner menu, hand­made pasta like silky rivulets of crab meat taglierini are a delight to slurp up. If you’re only af­ter nib­bles, go for their small plates such as the juicy, pan-grilled Span­ish oc­to­pus with lemon­grass and ap­ple spicy slaw. For dessert, try the cho­co­late semifreddo, em­bed­ded with Mal­don salt and pink pep­per­corns. South Beach Av­enue, B1-21, 26 Beach Road, Sin­ga­pore 189768 Tel: 6384 1878

Ot­toman Room

Hid­den be­hind the re­cently-launched Fat Prince café and bar at Tan­jong Pa­gar, The Ot­toman Room dishes out New Mid­dle East­ern feasts in op­u­lence and deca­dence. Din­ers are treated to a mezze menu com­pris­ing a wide va­ri­ety of hum­mus, in­clud­ing their sig­na­ture Prince’s hum­mus with duck fat and lemon, and sweet po­tato hum­mus with chilli— this doesn’t re­quire any or­der, and will be topped up through­out your meal. Be sure to or­der the ap­ple-stuffed lamb shoul­der, or the grilled fish with za’atar pesto and cu­cum­ber lab­neh. 48 Peck Seah Street, #01-01, Sin­ga­pore 079317 Tel: 6221 3683

Restau­rant Po

At newly opened Po, ex­pect great, creative Sin­ga­pore food with chef-owner and fa­ther of mod-sin cui­sine Willin Low and ex­ec­u­tive chef William Lim in the kitchen. To­gether, they are amp­ing up fa­mil­iar lo­cal favourites from what Grandma used to cook.

Part of The Ware­house Ho­tel, Po oc­cu­pies a his­toric godown by the Sin­ga­pore River. A few stand­outs on the menu are bar­ra­mundi, an el­e­vated ver­sion of sliced fish salad with por­ridge us­ing Kühlbarra bar­ra­mundi; and cara­binero prawns and konbu noo­dles, a riff on prawn mee with prized in­gre­di­ents like Red Boat fish sauce and ebi sakura. The cock­tail menu ranges from spice-based and com­plex to flirty and fun as it traces the ho­tel’s his­tory at the heart of the spice trade, its godown days as a spir­its/dis­tillery street, and later as Ware­house Disco. 320 Have­lock Road, Sin­ga­pore 169628 Tel: 6828 0007

Song Gar­den

It may be the new kid on the Bugis block, but this con­tem­po­rary Can­tonese restau­rant is helmed by pro­lific in­dus­try names: ex­ec­u­tive chef Wong Shea Nung, pre­vi­ously of Raf­fles Country Club’s fine din­ing Chi­nese es­tab­lish­ment Fu Lin Men, and dim sum chef Le­ung Chi Man, who flexed his chops at Hong Kong’s fa­mous East Ocean Seafood Restau­rant.

Song Gar­den fo­cuses on the cel­e­bra­tion of tex­tures and flavours on the palate. Think dishes like siew mai filled with lo­cal spicy mack­erel otah paste in­stead of the tra­di­tional pork. Song Gar­den’s sig­na­ture roasted chicken is pre­pared like Pek­ing duck: its skin is first sep­a­rated from the meat and stretched, dried, then roasted to glazed per­fec­tion, then served with pan­cake, sweet bean sauce and bean­curd skin. Mer­cure Sin­ga­pore Bugis, #02-01, 122 Mid­dle Road, Sin­ga­pore 188973 Tel: 6521 9299

Sushi Kimura

More than just a new fine din­ing sushi-ya, Sushi Kimura is the philo­soph­i­cal vi­sion of mas­ter chef To­moo Kimura, who had spent over 20 years hon­ing his craft. For­merly of award­win­ning Ginza Sushi Ichi, chef Kimura serves up deeply sea­sonal edo­mae-style del­i­ca­cies in a range of omakase menus at his new 22-seat restau­rant in Palais Re­nais­sance. Be­spoke in­gre­di­ents fea­ture—pre­mium grade nori from the first har­vest hauled out of the Ari­ake sea, ar­ti­sanal or­ganic vine­gar from a small­batch Ky­oto brew­ery, and Hokkaido spring wa­ter for cook­ing. Bag a seat at the 150-yearold Hi­noki wood sushi counter, en­joy his af­fa­ble ser­vice, and tuck into his sashimi, Ba­fun uni rice with ikura and on­sen egg. Palais Re­nais­sance, #01-07, Sin­ga­pore 238871 Tel: 6734 3520 / 8428 0073

Vi­o­let Oon Satay Bar & Grill

The look is el­e­gant Raf­fles-meets-the-e&o at culi­nary doyenne Vi­o­let Oon’s new es­tab­lish­ment, Vi­o­let Oon Satay Bar & Grill, at Clarke Quay. Here, re­fined ver­sions of tra­di­tional satay and grilled dishes, cooked on a glass-cased char­coal grill, take cen­trestage.

The range of sa­tays on of­fer are high end, fea­tur­ing pork ten­der­loin in the Hainanese tra­di­tion, An­gus beef, tiger prawns and the less com­mon but no less tra­di­tional tripe. The grilled mains are creative pre­sen­ta­tions based on Per­anakan flavours. The garam as­sam bar­ra­mundi with pineap­ple and gin­ger flower is melt-in-your­mouth with spicy, well-bal­anced flavours. For dessert, don’t miss the chen­dol with durian pen­gat sauce served with gula melaka ice. A long com­mu­nal ta­ble dom­i­nat­ing the din­ing room in­vites guests to a tra­di­tional tok pan­jang, while the bar of­fers nos­tal­gic con­coc­tions rem­i­nis­cent of colo­nial plan­ta­tion tip­ples. Clarke Quay, #01-18, 3B River Val­ley Road, Sin­ga­pore 179021 Tel: 9834 9935

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